Our Projects Fostering Business Innovation

Export Bridge

Export Bridge provides companies the opportunity to have market research and development work provided in country by university students as a core element of their course work. 

The current opportunity is for MBA students based at San Diego State University in Southern California, USA to undertake work for a New Zealand company between January 20 and May 5, 2023.  Export Bridge is their major project and forms the majority of their assessment for their course on International Business. There will be between three and five students assigned to each New Zealand company. 

Ideally companies treat the students as unpaid consultants with a written brief setting out their expectations and deadlines. You may wish to ask the students to do the following work:

  • Market research
  • Surveys and interviews
  • Focus group discussions
  • Store or business observations
  • In market taste tests
  • Import restrictions, tariffs and requirements
  • Bio-security requirements
  • Food, health and safety standards and requirements
  • Industry analysis
  • Competitor matrix
  • Assessment of market potential, opportunities and threats
  • Cultural considerations and business norms
  • Provide a list of potential clients and contact details
  • Visit potential clients
  • USA cultural, negotiating and business norms
  • Business strategy
  • Alliance formation
  • Any other information or activities that would be helpful

The students’ time is free but out of pocket expenses will need to be covered by the exporting company. We ask companies to earmark up to US$600 for the students’ expenses with the approval of the programme academic. Domestic travel is the most likely reason students would draw on this fund.  We also charge US$200 for administration fees, but only for those companies who are granted a student team.

New Zealand companies are asked to fill in a brief charter which maps out their expectations of the students showing:

  • Contact details for person that the students will report to
  • Some background on the company and product, or the website address if this is contained here
  • Goals of the project that the students’ work will contribute to achieving
  • The market research and development requirements.  This is the work that the students will sign their commitment to undertake
  • Milestones and due dates to help keep the students on track
  • Frequency and time of communication.  We suggest a ten-minute Skype meeting (a free internet system for making international calls) once per week for the 12 weeks of the course, however this is entirely up to the company to decide what is in their best interests.
  • Modify a standard confidentiality agreement for the students to sign after being assigned a team of students 

We expect it will take companies an hour to fill in the charter, an hour to negotiate the agreement and confidentiality with the students, and about half an hour each week responding to student queries and communicating with them.  

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise provided seed funding for piloting this concept through their Enterprise Culture and Skills Activity Fund. Export Bridge aims to help companies to export and students to learn international business skills. 

To express interest, seek further information, or submit a charter please contact Deb Gilbertson, Export Bridge Director, deb [at] windeaters.co.nz, +64 22 589 5011.  


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